Amazon Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book of 2018
One of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best YA Books of 2018
One of Publishers Weekly's Best YA Book of the Year
A National Indie Bestseller
Longlisted for Irish YA prize Great Reads Award
Lose yourself in the fantastic world of the arks and in the company of unforgettable characters in this French runaway hit, Christelle Dabos’ The Mirror Visitor quartet.
Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.
The World of the Arks
Long ago, following a cataclysm called the Rupture, the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands, now known as arks. Over each, the spirit of an omnipotent and immortal ancestor abides. The inhabitants of these arks each possess a unique power. Ophelia, with her ability to read the pasts of objects, must navigate this fantastic, disjointed, perilous world using her trademark tenacity and quiet strength.
An unforgettable heroine, a rich and bountiful universe, intrigue and suspense: A Winter’s Promise is perfect for readers of Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens , Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood , V.E. Schwab’s “Shades of Magic” series, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone , Kenneth Oppel’s “Airborne” series, and N.K. Jemisin “Broken Earth” series.
I think we could have all lived happily, in a way, God, me and the others, if it weren’t for that accursed book. It disgusted me. I knew what bound me to it in the most sickening of ways, but the horror of that particular knowledge came later, much later. I didn’t understand straight away, I was too ignorant.
About the Author
Christelle Dabos was born on the Côte d’Azur in 1980 and grew up in a home filled with classical music and historical games. She now lives in Belgium. The Mirror Visitor , her debut series, won the Gallimard Jeunesse-RTL-Télérama First Novel Competition.
Since graduating in French from Oxford University, Hildegarde Serle has worked in London as a newspaper subeditor, mainly on The Independent and The Sunday Telegraph. In 2011, she decided to combine her love of both English and French by doing the Chartered Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation. Although she still lives in London, her heart still lives on the Quai aux Fleurs in Paris.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I can't wait to check out the next 3 when they're translated, as the whole quartet has already been published in France!
The world of the Mirror Visitor quartet is a sort of steampunk and fantasy blend, and hints of futurism (at least for the background). Here, the world is literally divided into fragments of the Earth floating around in space (by some trick of magic presumably that is messing with the laws of phsyics), each ruled by a family spirit, AKA gods, and each having their own form of governance. The main storyline is about Ophelia, who comes from Anima, Artemis’ Ark, where the latter’s descendants have psychometric powers, and the land is sort of a socialist community, being handed over as a diplomatic tribute in marriage to Pole, ruled in a monarchy by Lord Farouk, a hedonistic man-child god who pretty much leaves the ruling of his Ark to his Treasurer, and her fiance, Thorn. The main struggle of the character is to adjust to this new world, to establish her place in it, to not get used as a pawn in the games between the nobles, while in hiding. I think discussing Ophelia’s character is an important part of how this plot progresses. She is a quiet, reserved woman who doesn’t think much of herself but doesn’t let anyone walk over her; she may come across as passive but I think it is cunning. Her journey through the book is to stand up for herself, to hold on to her sense of self in the face of cruelty, and to realize the power in her strength. Her being skeptical and wary of the Pole from the start, as well as decidedly not trusting Thorn and his aunt, Berenilde even though they are her only allies, is a smart strategy on her part. Opposed to her aunt and chaperone, Rosaline, she quietly observes and gathers information and makes calculated decisions; that doesn’t mean she doesn’t make mistakes or doesn’t act in haste, but she usually looks for the best option under the circumstances. The world of Pole is ruthless, and as she gets into the Citaceleste in disguise as Berenilde’s valet, she sees the nature of the society, which I feel armed her with enough knowledge before the story into the next book. Additionally, and while I don’t know if this has been confirmed as canon, Ophelia’s characterization was very much coded as aro-ace. It could be that the vocabulary of ace-spec wasn’t used, but there are other novels that don’t explicitly say ace (The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is a good example) but still provide plenty of evidence for it. Ophelia says on multiple occasions that she has never felt anything for Thorn, nor would she ever, and if you are expecting a romance, you will be disappointed. (Honestly, the world is too cruel to warp even romantic love, as in the case of Berenilde) Thorn does look like he will be the broody-but-a-hidden-soft-side kind of love interest, but there’s are many ways the book subverts that. The book has some interesting secondary characters, and their relationships to Ophelia enrich the plot and decide her path forward. The magic system in the book isn’t unusual, but it is pretty interesting. I would love to know why Artemis’ ark has only one kind of power, while Farouk’s had at least 5. Add to that, there was another ark called LandmArk that had the power to manipulate space. The amalgamation of the powers into the construction of Citaceleste was clever and showed forethought into the world-building. The plot is tight, and usually doesn’t leave room for much questions or doubts – if there were any in the start, they were usually resolved later on; it is not wholly unpredictable, but hits the sweet spo